All Things New: The Cabin Campaign Series, Volume V

As our All Things New Blog Series comes to a close, we have one final story about how Bill Thompson came to the decision to name a cabin for his mother. What a wonderful legacy! Read his letter to camp below.


“The Lord has blessed me with a mother who loved the Lord and directed me in His ways. Growing up in Jackson, TN she took me to the First Methodist Church as early as I can remember. Methodist Youth Fellowship and Lakeshore were on that journey as I grew.

My mother, Louise Enochs Thompson, grew up in Huntingdon, TN and started playing the piano at the First Methodist Church in Huntingdon as a teenager and continued at the Jackson Church into her late eighties.

I am a blessed adult because of the West Tennessee seeds that were sowed by her through the Lord’s Holy Grounds like Lakeshore.

I find Lakeshore along the path that we both walked with our Lord, and I am blessed to be able to honor her in this small way.

In Christ,
Bill Thompson”

If you are interested in naming a cabin or making a donation to the fall annual fund, please contact Jennie Dickerson at (731) 584-6102.


All Things New: Cabin Campaign Series, Volume IV

Rev. Jim and Pat Calhoun share their Lakeshore story in the fourth installment of All Things New. If you missed the introduction to this series, catch up here.


“Several years ago, we were co-counselors at Lakeshore during the Summer Camping season. We have attended conferences, workshops, retreats and other meetings and programs at Lakeshore for many years. Pat has attended UMW Spiritual Growth Retreats and other UMW functions for several years also.

Of course, Lakeshore has taken on new meaning to us since a Lodge was named in our honor—a complete surprise to us—by Carol and Bill Latimer who are good friends of ours. They have become even closer friends after having made a Holy Land Tour with us a few years ago. We feel naming the lodge for us is the highest honor we have ever received.

As we have watched Lakeshore grow through the past several years, our love and appreciation for it have grown also. We have been inspired by the leadership of Gary Lawson these past several years and feel he is due much credit for its growth.

Lakeshore has a special place in our hearts, and it is really “Holy Ground” to us. We look forward to going there every opportunity we have.”

If you are interested in naming a cabin or making a gift to the fall annual fund, please contact Jennie Dickerson at (731) 584-6102.



CANNONBALL! Wayne and Janie Hall Help Pay Off Water Park

In 2004, the pool at Lakeshore Camp and Retreat was rusty and outdated and in serious need of a face lift. After much deliberation, and a decision that it was important not only to replace but improve, the Board stepped out on faith and started work on an $895,000 water park. Complete with a water slide, lazy river, playground, grilling area and meeting space, this new part of camp’s ministry was top of the line and has been a blessing for many years.


You might wonder how a pool can be a place of ministry. Fourteen summers of campers have built relationships through underwater tea parties, games of categories, water polo, and “real talk” in the lazy river. Kids have learned to swim here, have overcome a fear of the deep end here and have developed trust that their counselor really will catch them at the end of the slide. There have been splash prayers before Water Olympics and worships pool side. On days when pop up storms cut pool time short, campers wrapped in big beach towels sing songs like “King Jesus is All” and “If You Love Jesus” in the nearby meeting room to pass the time and keep up the fun, pool or not.


Each year we have seen the dividends of the investment we made back in 2004, so the payments we have been making every month since we count as joy – joy that we have continually been blessed by the support of others helping to pay the cost of growing and expanding our ministry twelve years ago. In fact, not one penny of this loan was paid from apportioned funding or fee income. All was paid for through the generosity of Lakeshore’s friends and supporters, and for that we are grateful.

This month, we have something else to be grateful about. We made our final payment on the water park thanks to a very generous charitable remainder trust from Wayne and Janie Hall. Ten years ago, Wayne Hall, Jr. set aside money in this trust for Lakeshore as a way to honor his father, Wayne Hall, Sr. Lakeshore was extremely important to Mr. Hall, and Wayne, Jr. thought it would be the perfect way to honor him, and we are honored to be the beneficiaries of such generosity.

This final payment means big things for Lakeshore! It gives us the chance to move forward with projects we only dreamed about when all our focus was on the water park, like cabin remodels and hammock shelters. It means the opportunity to dream up what the next big thing will be. We’ve got some ideas, but we want to know what your Lakeshore dream is. Leave us a Facebook comment, and we will dream together.


All Things New: The Cabin Campaign Series, Volume III

Not too long ago, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Benny and Gail Hopper. They are some of the most lovely and gracious people I have met, and funny too! I am humbled by their long-standing dedication to the ministry of Lakeshore and the lodge named after them.

Gail sent me their story as part of our All Things New blog series. If you didn’t start at the beginning, catch up here.

The Rev. Benny and Gail Hopper Lodge

“Benny and I have been connected to Lakeshore for many years. I first came to Lakeshore as a fifth grade camper. This was back in the days when we swam in the lake ( no lazy river swimming pool then.) We shared a shower house back then. (No bathrooms in cabins..) No air conditioning then..just hot air and mosquitos.

Benny began his experience at Lakeshore as an adult. After seminary, while serving Pickwick, Pisgah and Shiloh he began as a director of 5th and 6th grade camps. He did this for many years. He was on the board of trustees at Lakeshore twice.

Through the years, as our family grew, we sent our children to Lakeshore summer camps. While in college, our youngest son, John served on summer staff there. As time went on, we began to send our grandchildren to camp.

hoppersRev. Benny and Gail Hopper in front of their lodge

After retirement, Benny raised money for Lakeshore. Now days, we give monetary gifts in honor of our friends to Lakeshore at Christmas and encourage them to do the same.’ We were honored when it was announced that a lodge would be named in our honor. We make it a point to stay there for Retirees Retreat each year.Form us, Lakeshore has a special place in our hearts and always will.”

If you are interested in naming a cabin or would like to make a gift to the fall annual fund, please contact Jennie Dickerson at (731) 584-6102.



All Things New: The Cabin Campaign Series Too

I love this reflection from Susan Cox about how important Lakeshore is to their family. If you missed the introduction to this series, catch up here.

The Cox Family enjoying their home away from home in the Sun Room.

“A God-place.  A constant in our lives.  Home.  These are the words my family chose when I asked them to describe Lakeshore.  It is a place of joy and love and the Holy Spirit, and our hearts get full just thinking of it.

Lakeshore is where I did my spiritual growing up…I went every chance I got, as a camper, a counselor, and on summer staff.  I have made so many deep and life-long soul friends at camp–our marriage began as a “Lakeshore romance.” We have continued to return for family retreats and Mommy and Me camp–any opportunity to visit and be renewed. When I drop our kids off for summer camp, I still wish I could stay for the week!

What is it that draws us to Lakeshore so strongly and so often? At Lakeshore, I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.  It is a place where people feel free to worship and to love others in the way that we are called to love, a place where we feel close to God and the beauty of His creation and the amazing love of those that He created. It is a God-place.

As an itinerant ministry family, Lakeshore is a constant home in our ever-changing lives.  I love that my children feel so at home when they set foot on the grounds of Lakeshore—they have grown up there.  Although God calls us to move from time to time, Lakeshore remains a place of love and safety for us. It is our constant, our home.

Lakeshore is a place of connection and relationships—the experience of this place bonds people from different ages and hometowns, varied backgrounds and experiences.  We come together to grow closer to God and each other at camp, simply as children of God.  A shared love of Lakeshore is a bond of knowing what it is like to love, laugh, and worship in this special place, an instant fellowship of believers.

Lakeshore is the church as it is meant to be.  I am amazed and excited to see how the ministries of Lakeshore have grown to include outreach such as the Camp Hope series, for children who have suffered abuse, and DayShore, offering this amazing love and spirit filled camp experience in communities around our conference to kids who might never have the opportunity to come to camp.  At Lakeshore, young people learn how to be servants; there God opens hearts to the call of ministry—full time ministers, missionaries, and community servants have realized their calling at Lakeshore.

We will continue to offer Lakeshore our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness because the people of Lakeshore are the church and the place of Lakeshore is a God-place.  For us, as for so many, Lakeshore is home.”

If you are interested in naming a cabin or making a donation to the fall annual fund, please contact Jennie Dickerson at (731) 584-6102.



All Things New: The Cabin Campaign Series

If you are like me, you have spent time pondering the stories behind the names on some of the cabins around camp. Who are these people? What’s their connection? How do they fit into our history?

We have just launched this year’s fall campaign, and it focuses on two major projects: building Hammock Shelters for hammocking camp and finishing the remodels of all remaining cabins. In light of this, I decided to ask our friends with their names on cabins to tell us their story.


We start with the little red cabin, called the Shanklin Cottage. A Lakeshore lifetime ago, it was the staff cabin. Summer staff wasn’t a whopping 41 people like it will be this summer. Just a few teens ran all the activities and programming then. Now this cabin serves as the Infirmary and popular hammock spot during the summer and a retreat cabin in the off-season.

Read all about Carrie and Russell Shanklin’s story below.

Carrie and Russell counseling a Wilderness camp.

“When I think of the biggest blessing we have received from Lakeshore, it’s joy! Lakeshore has brought us joy in many ways: new friends, old friends, crazy camp adventures, worshiping God under the stars and in the woods, awesome camp food, a “home” we can always come back to, a place of quiet solitude with God, and the joy of marriage!  Russell grew up going to Lakeshore – starting as a baby with his church’s Family Camp, then on through high school.  I was 16 when I first attended Lakeshore at a Sr. High Camp. But no matter when you first drive up the hill, Lakeshore welcomes you in! We met when we were volunteer counselors, and we counseled together at one of the first Wilderness Camps. We didn’t really believe it years later when Papa Gary said he was going to name a cabin after us, but then he did! So that’s cool to have the little red Shanklin cabin as part of our Lakeshore story. Now our daughters, Clara and Molly, are Lakeshore Campers, and it’s a blessing that Lakeshore is going to be part of their story, too!”

If you are interested in naming a cabin or making a donation to the fall campaign, please contact Jennie Dickerson at 731-584-6102.


Become a 2017 DayShore Host!

Lakeshore is more than just a place. It’s a spirit of the love of God and a family that seeks to love and serve God and each other. At the end of every camp closing worship, Executive Director Gary Lawson reminds every camper that God loves us, that we are His children and, as such, we are called to “go and be about the family business.”

This year, Lakeshore Camp and Retreat Center in Eva, Tennessee, launched a new program with Lawson’s words in mind. DayShore packed up the spirit of Lakeshore and every activity we could think of in a 15-passenger van and took camp on the road. We met people where they were, physically and spiritually. Eight churches hosted DayShore camps where nearly 300 campers came to experience what Lakeshore is all about. They met God in worship, games, Bible study, archery, tie dye and more.


Everyone deserves the chance to play games with new friends and experience the love of God, so many churches decided to invite their neighbors to DayShore camp in 2016. They came; they played; they laughed; they learned. At DayShore in Union City, Tennessee, one camper from the community came to the church for the first time. She started going to church there the very next Sunday and has been bringing her whole family with her ever since. Earlier this month, all five of her family members were baptized into a new family.

We believe in the power of the Gospel and the power of camp to introduce people to it. DayShore will be back for its second summer in 2017, and we are looking to double the number of churches by adding a second traveling camp team.

If your church is interested in reaching its community, introducing people into a new or deeper relationship with God and partnering your Vacation Bible School (VBS) team with trained Lakeshore staff, give us a call at (731) 584-6102.